Apply for a UK visa in the USA

Updated 22 February 2017

To apply for a UK visa in the USA you need to:

  • apply online
  • pay your fee
  • go to your appointment
  • post your application

1. Pay your fee

Follow the instructions when you apply online to pay your fee.

2. Go to your appointment

You must book your biometric appointment at a US Department of Homeland Security application support centre (ASC) when you apply online. This is to have your photo and fingerprints taken (known as ‘biometric information’).

When you visit the ASC for your biometrics appointment, please take your current passport, a print out of your application form and a copy of your biometric confirmation receipt. You can print your receipt when you apply online.

Mobile phones, cameras and other recording devices are not permitted inside the ASC.

Visa application process for children under 5

Children under the age of 5 applying for a UK visa from within the United States will also need to attend an appointment at an ASC. At the appointment, children under the age of 5 will have their photograph taken but will not be required to provide their fingerprints.

3. Post your application

Your biometric confirmation receipt will be stamped at your appointment. You then have 5 days to post this, your application form, your passport and supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). All applications must be accompanied by a valid passport with at least one page without any endorsements. If the application arrives at the decision making centre without a passport the application will be refused.

You should post your application to:

Non-settlement applications

UK Visas and Immigration
British Consulate General
845 Third Avenue
New York

Settlement applications

International Operations and Visas
6 Millsands
Vulcan House
S3 8NH
United Kingdom

3.1 Return shipping

To have your documents returned you must provide a fully addressed prepaid electronic shipping label (we cannot accept ground services and non-electronic waybills). Put your return shipping label and envelope inside the package, and keep a copy of the waybill for your records.

4. Priority visa service

This is an optional service where you can pay an extra fee to fast track your application and have your visa application processed ahead of non priority applications.

You must pay for the priority visa service online on the VFS Global website before you post your application. The VFS ‘User pay services’ page contains further information on how to apply, the fee and how to pay for this service.

You should print off the receipt and include it with your application when you post it to one of the addresses above, writing the words ‘priority service’ in large black print on the outer envelope.

You cannot purchase the priority service at the ASC.

5. Super priority and premium visa services: New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami and Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Boston

The super priority and premium visa services enable customers to receive a decision on their application within 24 hours.

These services are currently only available for applicants applying at the premium application centres in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami and Chicago, Houston and Boston. They are not available through an ASC.

The VFS premium application centre page contains further information on how to apply, the fees and how to pay for each service.

5.1 Who can use these services?

Customers and their dependants applying in one of the following immigration routes are eligible:

  • Tourist and short stay (visitor) visas
  • Points-based system Tier 2 and Tier 5 applicants with authority to be living in the USA
  • Point-based system Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) if you are currently in the USA for a similar purpose to take up in the UK
  • Points-based system Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Creative and Sporting) if currently in the USA for a similar purpose to take up in the UK
  • Points-based system Tier 4 student visas - for applicants who are resident in the USA and are subject to different document requirements under Tier 4 of the Points-based system

Your appointment will only be confirmed and your application accepted when you have paid the correct fee.

You should read and sign the terms and conditions before applying and submit the signed copy with your visa application.

5.2 Additional information

UKVI strongly recommends that customers with any form of adverse immigration history do not purchase these services or packages. Using the priority or super priority visa service does not guarantee or imply in any way that your visa application will be successful. All applicants must meet the requirements of the relevant UK Immigration Rules.

The fee for the priority service and the visa application fee are not refundable if your visa application is refused.

Your application may take longer if you:

  • do not include the priority service receipt with your application, or submit it afterwards
  • do not write ‘priority service’ clearly on the outer envelope
  • send your application to the wrong location
  • have previously been refused a visa for the UK, or refused leave to enter the UK
  • have previously been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK
  • have overstayed a period of leave in the UK
  • have previously been refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America or the Schengen countries
  • have been convicted of a criminal offence in any country
  • do not submit all relevant documentation with your application

5.3 Registered agents

UKVI allows some registered agents to present applications directly to the decision making centre in New York. There is no obligation to use this service, for which there is a charge.

If you wish to submit an application this way you will also have to pay the UKVI priority service fee. If you would like an agent to submit your application as well as collect your documents you should contact them directly.

If you intend to use a registered agent, you are strongly advised to consult the company prior to submitting your biometric information

Registered agents do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications.

6. Contact us

You can contact our international enquiry service provided by Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) who work in partnership with UKVI. Emailing the service is free, speaking directly to an advisor costs £1.37 per minute and a 10 minute webchat will cost £4.

From the US dial 1 586 697 0792. Opening hours are 7am to 4pm EDT. Calls can be handled in English or Spanish.

HGS staff do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications. They can provide help with navigating the UKVI guidance online. They cannot provide immigration advice.

Make a complaint

Letters or emails about decisions to refuse a UK visa will not be treated as complaints. If you do not agree with the decision on your visa application, please use the existing appeals channels.

If you have a complaint about how your visa application has been handled, or the conduct of UKVI staff you should write to the entry clearance manager and send your letter of complaint to the address where you posted your UK visa application. Alternatively, you can send your complaint by email using our international enquiry service.